You Know Someone Can’t Come to Your Wedding. Should You Send Them An Invitation Anyway?

iStock.com/Stacey Newman

iStock.com/Stacey Newman

I have a comfy blue chair in my office that colleagues sit in for all sorts of reasons and for all lengths of time—and it is also frequently the setting where people pose all manner of wedding etiquette questions to me.

Most recently, a member of PW’s marketing team popped over to ask me this: Her friend (a bride) knew of someone who could definitely not come to her wedding, and wasn’t sure if she should send them an invitation anyway—or if, since they had already basically covered her RSVP, mailing one out would be redundant and unnecessary. Weirdly enough, that’s the very question a friend had asked me at dinner the other week, and this week, a scan of HuffPo turned up this post. So apparently, this dilemma is a common one!

Now, I had offered up a vehement yes; that it’s still always the right idea to send an invite anyway, because it’s nice to give them the courtesy of being formally invited, and for them to have the courtesy of officially replying, and anyway, plans change! You might not necessarily know if their conflict goes away after they tell you about it. But the Huffington Post response was not as vehement, and anyway, with this coming up so frequently, I thought it time to check in with a few of our local wedding-planning experts. Here’s what they had to say:

Chrissy Lehman, Truly You Events As a planner, I usually err on the side of tradition and being as mannerly as possible. If a client asked me whether to send an invite to a guest or couple who has expressed that they will not be able to attend the wedding, I would advise them to send one anyway. Who knows if circumstances may change? I think that guest (or couple) will appreciate the invitation, even if he or she does not end up attending the wedding.

Renee Patrone, Events by Renee I say definitely yes. Then the guest still feels like they are on the couple’s mind, and it makes them feel more a part of the wedding even if they can’t attend! Especially with elderly invitees, it’s a must.

Lynda Barness, I Do Wedding Consulting Absolutely send the invitation!  It’s always nice to be included—and to see the invitation. Sometimes plans do change (or decisions change) and that person might be able to make it after all. And, this issue sometimes brings up the question about whether this is asking for a gift. In my opinion, it is not. It is asking for someone you care about to attend your wedding! Period.

Melissa Brannon, Uncommon Events I say send the invitation, except in the case where the invite is incredibly costly. If budget is not an issue for the client, then send. If it is, then we don’t. We have done save the dates with an RSVP in many cases to know who def cant come when the invite is going to be pricey or it is a destination wedding.

Gina Sole, The Wedding Planner Even if you know that a wedding guest (be they friend or family) cannot make it to your wedding, the courtesy of an invitation is always the right gesture! They should know that they were absolutely chosen to share in the biggest day of your life. If they cannot attend, they will still have a lovely keepsake of your event and will know that they were considered.

Susan Norcross, The Styled Bride We agree that you send the invite. It is nice to say to a family member or guest, we still wish you could be here and acknowledge that you are important to us even though you can’t attend. Also it gives them an opportunity to also send back a gift or special note or card in the RSVP envelope and/or have an address where to send something.

Sarah Morrison, All About Events Always yes, 100 percent! That’s definitely the right etiquette, and plus, you never know who may change their mind once that pretty invitation comes in the mail. Sometimes people who you never expect to attend do!

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